It’s been quite the journey for Permian quarterback Harper Terry.
After being thrown into the mix as an injury replacement last season, Terry entered his senior season looking to make his mark as the leader of the Panthers’ offense.
Terry has been able to do just that, leading the way for Permian to at least a share of a third straight District 2-6A title and also earn recognition as the All-Permian Basin Offensive Player of the Year.
Looking back on the season as a whole, Terry said that he was blown away with how much he’s grown and improved.
“It’s insane,” Terry said. “I feel like I’ve matured a lot and been able to lead the team a lot better this year. Last year, I was just scared but now I feel much more prepared mentally than what I was before.”
Terry proved to be a strong option under center for the Panthers, compiling 1,130 yards and 20 touchdowns passing while adding 810 yards and 12 scores on the ground during the regular season. And including the bi-district playoff game against El Paso Franklin, Terry is just the second Panthers quarterback to rush for 100 yards and throw for 100 yards in the same game in school history.
The other is Steve Steen, who graduated in 2018 and ended up signing with Navy.
“He’s a totally different player and he’s improved a great deal since last year,” Permian coach Jeff Ellison said. “I’ve seen him grow the most with his confidence and leadership ability with the football team. He’s playing extremely well.”
Terry has also dealt with plenty of turning points over the course of his time as the Permian starter. Last year’s matchup against Southlake Carroll was his second career start. The area round matchup against the Dragons Friday was his 14th.
Another turning point came during the Panthers’ 40-18 loss to Amarillo Tascosa in which Terry admitted that the team “laid an egg.” Despite the setback, the signal caller said it provided a good teaching moment for him and the team.
“That was really a defining moment for our team to see if we were just going to lay down or overcome it,” he said. “We just had to work our butts off.”
That mentality helped him find success in 2020 and is a big reason why offensive coordinator Thad Fortune believes that Terry is the best quarterback in the district.
Fortune added that after the loss to Amarillo Tascosa, Terry was a different player the following week against Midland Lee, where a second-half, 75-yard touchdown run helped spark a pivotal win over the rival Rebels.
“In that leadership role and as a quarterback in that spot, you’ve got to be willing to fail a lot. You’ve got to be willing to get it wrong full speed,” Fortune said. “When I think about Harper and his growth since he was as a freshman, I think he’s been relentless as far as getting back up.”
As he wraps up his playing career for the Panthers, Terry said he’ll look back on the time spent building those relationships and how much it meant to him.
He also credited both Ellison and Fortune for helping to shape him both on and off the field and says he’ll take a valuable lesson with him moving forward.
“Keep working hard no matter what,” Terry added. “That’s one thing that our coaches preach. One thing that I’ve seen in my life is that if you work hard, it works out.”